Become an Actor
Quite often, I hear people say that they have a lot of difficulty when writing dialogue. Here are some tips for improving dialogue and making it a snap to write:
1) Know the character you have established.
- Is your character male or female?
- In what time period is your setting?
- Is your character laid back or a Type A personality who’s always jittery?
- What is your character’s purpose in the story?
2) Assuming you know the above facts about your character, they can only speak one way.
- Write a line of dialogue.
- Then stand in front of a mirror and become an actor.
- Put yourself in that character’s mind.
- Be the character.
- Speak the line.
- Gesture when you speak.
- Use facial gestures.
- Try speaking the dialogue in difference accents or drawls.
- You already know the basics of your character and the particular scenes, so you won’t find too many ways he or she can speak.
3) As you speak, try changing the words of the sentence of dialogue.
- Try saying the same thing in a different way.
4) Act out the characters parts.
- Be one or more characters interchangeably.
- Interact and speak the lines of each.
- Your mind will automatically “round out” what is needed.
- You may decide instead of a character with stilted language, he or she becomes relaxed and easy going.
- Each state of mind produces different ways of speaking.
You may find that your character also changes in personality. Be careful here. If you’ve completed your story and then change a character’s mannerisms, which may affect personality, you may need to make a sweep through the entire story to bring that character in line with the new image you’ve created. But if that’s what it takes to make your story hum, you do it.
Chances are, you won’t make sweeping changes with this technique unless they are needed. You will simply find new ways to put some zing into the dialogue.
Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.